Yes, I’m politically involved. Yes, I’m a pinko. Yes, I am wide-eyed about voting…everyone voting.
In a weak defense, I note that I’m a warden at a Boston polling place (18-16 for you left-brained types). In that sense, elections are my occasional job, more than an avocation and less than a vocation.
My family knows to vote. Uxorial unit and two filial units still here never, ever skip an election, special, primary or general. After all, I run the polling place and I know whether and when they show. Lightly amusingly to me, I see that they follow state law and call out their address and name to the poll worker, even though we share a roof and I have seen them thousands of times.
Truth be told many of my neighbors know me as the warden and tell me that helps keep them voting, even at stereotypical low-turnout days, like say a non-Presidential primary. We see each other on the street, at the Y and at parties. Some fear my raised eyebrows.
So for us election wonks and advocated, how do we GOTV?
For this go, I admit that the ballot is complex. At least the Dem one is. Almost commonwealth-wide the GOP one is embarrassingly simple (the gubernatorial line is contested and most statewide races are blank). Note that the links in this graph are to my precinct ballot. You can find your own here.
We eat dinner together almost nightly and my lads know that most of the little TV I watch is what my youngest calls my political porn — MSNBC. We talk politics here. Everyone here knows never to say, “My vote doesn’t make any difference,” or “Why should I vote?”
If you want to know how to encourage your people, consider simple graphics. On this and many other complex ballots I discuss candidates and eagerly await the question of whom I’ll vote for. We haven’t even gotten into November’s four ballot questions, but I”m ready.
Our fridge has the sample primary ballot for our precinct, highlighted with my choices. I would love for family members to research on their own, including listening to me on Left Ahead interviewing various candidates I don’t give pop quizzes (nor formally at least). In lieu of that, I accept that I am peculiar about politics and most are not. I share my truth and knowledge freely.
Locker Room and Bar
Whether it’s in the church, Y or brewpub, the opportunities to educate and even intimidate abound. You can be passive-aggressive and say how important the pending election is.You can alternately go for the “Berwick has the only real progressive agenda” ploy and stifle all listeners. The point is that you probably have two to four dozen chances a day to act out GOTV. Own it.
Honestly, as a warden cog in the electoral wheel, I would love to see every single registered voter show on 9/9, even though that would extend my day from 6AM until 9:30PM to tally it all.
Do what you can, subtly or coarsely to cajole or badger your family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers to vote. Every election is the most important one.